It’s Saturday, deep February, 5 below zero, everything looks purple/pink-ish outside, and I’m feeling cooped up. Too cold to ski for me (wimpy) although a few hard core Montanans are trudging along on cross country skis through the trail behind us. I tell myself that they are miserable. Cooking something amazing in my kitchen is the only idea that fits. Filling the house with some kind of magical aroma will make me feel better about this frigid Saturday and my decision to bail on any form of physical exertion. Problem is, there is NO WAY I’m leaving this cozy kitchen to do a market run. This leaves me with the contents of my packed freezer, a randomly overstocked pantry, and the few veggies that linger in the produce drawer.
While digging through the proteins carefully stowed in my freezer, I came upon a surprise chub of private label ground beef that I had not remembered buying. Light bulb!…during a delightful Holiday visit, our new friend Marc had generously brought us some ground beef as he has ties to a family ranch that produces pristine beef products. Finding this chub of beef was like seeing golden rays shoot out of the freezer. I excitedly floated the idea of meatballs, kofta, chili, lasagna, and an updated shepherd’s pie by Glen. Nonchalantly, he glanced up and said “can we just have Sloppy Joes? There was an audible scoff as response. Old fashioned, from scratch Sloppy Joes have been on our comfort food rotation for years. But this ground beef was special and I didn’t want to cheap it out with such a simple dish. We had made a remarkable Pasta with the same ground beef during the Holidays and it was a knock-out. Stewing a bit, I looked around the frig to check my resources. Along with basic staples, there was a poblano pepper, a jalapeno pepper, some red cabbage, a slightly over the hill avocado and a big bundle of cilantro that was begging for play. Brightening, the idea of a modern take on the classic Sloppy Joe began to form in my brain.
I’ve always used the same pseudo-from-scratch recipe for Sloppies and making the shift to “South of the Border” flavors seemed natural. Game on! This “Jose`” spin on the old classic is a win-win. Let’s just say, this recipe is worthy of the highest quality ground beef. The house did indeed fill with aromas of simmering beef and seasonings, the crema came together in minutes, and our humble pantry dinner was one of our favorites in recent weeks. We are serving “Sloppy Jose`s” at Starky’s this weekend and want to share the recipe with our guests so they might try it at home on a wintery day.
A few notes about the recipe:
- We use a high speed blender at Starky’s for most of our sauces. The crema is a snap with a single serving blender such as a Ninja or a Bullet. A food processor will work well also, but doesn’t grind the cilantro stems as smoothly as desired.
- Charring a Pepper on open flame gives your dishes a rich flavor unachieved by using canned chilies. If you don’t have a gas stove or don’t want to bother with the broiler, use the canned version instead.
- This recipe would be great with some Chorizo sausage mixed in with the ground beef, there just wasn’t any in the freezer! (remember that I WAS NOT leaving the house?)
- This recipe was so good on mini wheat buns but would also be delish bundled into a grilled tortilla or hard taco shell.
- The idea of a pickled jalapeno was attractive but I was too impatient to pickle my own. That would be a flavor booster although we loved the crunch and heat of the fresh jalapeno-you decide!
- Serve with tortilla chips on the side so you can scoop up all the lovely bits that fall out!
Sloppy Jose` Recipe from Starky’s Authentic
2 lbs of grass fed lean ground beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 poblano pepper, charred, skins removed, seeded, chopped
1 cup Mexican style beer (go ahead and chug the rest)
1 cup ketchup (we use organic!)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef until no longer pink. Drain any residual grease from the pan. Add the onion, jalapeno, bell pepper, and poblano pepper and sauté until the vegetables are softened, about 10-12 minutes. Add the beer to the skillet and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes. Add the ketchup, brown sugar, spices and seasonings and turn the heat to low. Simmer the Sloppy Jose` mixture for 20 minutes for all the flavors to mingle. When the liquid is mostly gone, the Jose`s are ready to serve! Serve on mini buns with avocado crema, finely sliced fresh jalapeno, and bit of finely shredded red cabbage.
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cilantro leaves and stems
Juice and zest of (1) lime
Pinch of salt and pepper
In a small high speed blender, add the sour cream, cilantro, lime juice and zest, and avocado. Process for 30 seconds until cilantro leaves and stems are pureed. Depending on the size of your avocado, you may have to add a tablespoon of water to thin out the crema. Taste and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Keep chilled until needed.